Monday, November 28, 2022 

Comics gaining prominence in Cameroon, and another article about Black Sands Entertainment

Africa News tells how the medium's gaining ground in Cameroon:
Comic books are a booming genre in Cameroon, but limited funds means not many copies of stories are produced.

Artist Francky Mindja of the Legend Arts Studio is creating a new story called ‘Samba’s Handkerchief’ on his iPad.

It tells the tale of Martin Paul Samba, a hero of Cameroon’s resistance to German colonisation in the 19th century. Production of the book is funded entirely with money raised online.

‘The book will be produced in three volumes, followed by the animation stage, because we also aim to make it into a cartoon, so in 2D,’ he says.
It's an interesting way to make use of the medium, by building on history. Something mainstream USA comics aren't doing to any good effect. And if south African countries are investing in animation, that too could prove an excellent challenge. So I wish these creators good luck in gathering the funds they'll need to better produce their stories.

Since we're on the subject of Africa, Stars & Stripes had another report about Black Sands Entertainment, and the veteran army couple managing the company:
Six years ago, Manuel and Geiszel Godoy were only looking to fill a need for their daughter and children like her. But they ended up exceeding those expectations.

Mr. and Mrs. Godoy, owners of Delaware-based Black Sands Entertainment, were unable to find children’s books and comics that represented their family and its Black heritage.

They realized how such representation is still something with which the entertainment industry struggles. While there are a few examples — such as “Black Panther” — Black characters, directors and content creators remain the minority in the entertainment world and face additional struggles while trying to make it there.

So the Godoys started their enterprise as a way to diversify the field, by introducing Black characters and storylines in their comic books.

We saw a need just to do stories on African history before slavery. We wanted to connect with that aspect because it’s never really been told before. So we focus on all the different countries around Africa and other Indigenous groups, too,” said Mrs. Godoy, whose company’s books also extend to the Incan and Malaysian cultures.

They started Black Sands to tell stories of strong Black characters set in those early days of history before colonization. Established in 2016, their empire has grown to 25 titles. The most popular series is “Black Sands,” about important Black pharaohs and their families in ancient Egypt and surrounding areas.

[...] Along with looking to grow into animation, Black Sands has launched an app to help Black creators reach larger audiences and a podcast to share secrets of indie publishing success.

The Godoys said they would love to bring their books into more schools, too. They have some Southern states onboard but are aiming to expand farther, with Delaware chief among those regions.
As I may have said before, they're doing the right thing to focus on their own productions and creations, rather than rely on DC/Marvel for this. If their creations had been part of the Big Two's universes today, it's a foregone conclusion they'd be watered down into leftist pandering. So again, I wish them good luck in marketing their products, and if they retain ownership, they're doing the right thing there.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022 

A writer who finds the comics better than the movies

A writer at Lit Reactor tells why he thinks the original comics are better than the movies adapted from them:
“You can have one of these two things for the rest of your life, and the other will go away forever: comic books or comic book movies. Now CHOOSE!”

I guess the genie got the part of the training where you say “Now CHOOSE!” in a scary voice, probably a key element of genie-ing.

I’d pick comic books over comic book movies. Easy. I wouldn’t even have to think that hard about it.

Because, for me, comic books are just a lot better than comic book movies. In fact...while I would say comic books are my favorite thing to read, comic book movies are pretty far down on the list of my favorite things to watch, down there among the Scandinavian detective shows that I only watch half an episode of, and while the sweaters are admirable, I just don't care.

Comics are just plain better entertainment than comic book movies.
He goes on to explain why, but I think I'll put in my own viewpoint why comics are better than movies, and certainly what was published up to the turn of the century: because much like books, you can enjoy a lot more quiet, and not have so many special effects crammed in your face, while a barrage of Dolby Stereo blares into your ears. Also, there was a time when comicdom dealt convincingly enough with challenging issues that are rarely the focus of these blockbusters, if at all (race relations, drug trafficking, in example). When the movie adaptations are reduced to little more than the spectacle of heroes facing one or two villains, like the Joker in the 1989 Batman movie, what good is that? It's actually kind of obvious when they go that route and make it almost the entire point. If that's all the movie adaptations can amount to, they're not accomplishing much, IMO.

The article, however, decidedly dampens the impact when it cites the following modern writer:
Being part of a subculture is an opportunity that only comes around here and there, and it's an opportunity you have to grab. Comic books are one of those rare opportunities. Read Chip Zdarsky's Spectacular Spider-Man 310. Trust me, you don't need to know anything about Spider-Man other than what you already know, it's heartfelt, it's fun, and it's the perfect passageway from the monoculture and into the subculture.
Just why must one of comicdom's decidedly overrated modern writers matter, but not the Spidey writers up to the turn of the century? I say that as somebody who got burned on mainstream fare years ago, especially after Joe Quesada erased the Spider-marriage, and as revealed recently, C.B. Cebulski refuses to restore it. With that kind of editorial mandating, there's no genuine entertainment in store. This is why it's actually foolish to say you needn't know a thing about Spidey other than what you "already know". Because it risks obscuring some of the worst directions taken in the mid-2000s.

And then, the article writer just had to follow the mainstream narrative about Master of Kung Fu:
When the Shang-Chi movie came out, you could read all about the comic book's racist origins, especially with the character's father, Fu Manchu, and the ways those things would be scrubbed from the movie (which was the right choice).

The book has racist nonsense, and it has some interesting stuff, too. Shang-Chi is more like James Bond than he is like Bruce Lee. He has complicated romantic relationships. Shang-Chi has to choose a path that pits him against his own father, who he was raised to believe would save the world.

Looking at troubling things and deciding whether or not you can love them despite their flaws is...complicated. And I think, for media savvy adults, looking at complicated things is good.
Well yes, but I still think it's ill-advised to follow the mainstream social justice narrative wholesale, and say MOKF is literally racist. Surely it's fair to argue that if it was, it wasn't intentional? The writer also argues comics can teach you to get over it:
Spider-Man 3 is considered a famously bad comic book movie, and that's probably a little unfair, but people are still, to this day, bashing on Spidey 3. And Batman & Robin. And, to a lesser extent, Daredevil.

With comics, you sort of expect bad stories to crop up. Captain America was a werewolf. "Clone Saga" still sets my Spidey Sense a tinglin'. The Hulk was grey and smart and worked at a casino. Punisher came back from the dead as a Frankenstein? An angel? I don't know, as a thing, occasionally with a very manga art style.

And, sure, when you read these storylines, you start googling to see which comic book writers have since admitted to using a lot of psychedelics in their heyday.

The difference between the bad movies and the bad comics is that you get over the bad comics pretty quickly. Because there's another one just down the road. It's not a multi-hundred-million-dollar affair that'll involve a huge undertaking. It's another 20-some pages and 30 days away.

Sometimes, shitty things get made. That's life.
Absolutely. But there comes a time when it simply becomes way too much, and by the early 2000s, Marvel/DC could no longer withstand the increasing political correctness that've destroyed them to date. Since he brought up Capt. America, is turning him into a werewolf as bad as turning his whole adventures into apologia for anti-Americanism and Islamic terrorism? That Marvel Knights series from 2002-04 was one of the most unreadable trash piles ever produced, and it curiously goes unmentioned here. Say, and why is he suggesting the Hulk working at a casino during Peter David's run was bad? It was pretty good, as it so happens. There's a reason David successfully filled the writing helm for nearly a dozen years. If anything could be considered a shame, it's when Betty Banner was poisoned into death limbo towards the end of David's run, all because he was mad Bob Harras wanted to reverse much of what he'd built up. And while that may be a shame, it doesn't solve anything take out one's anger on characters not created by the assigned writer. Though there's a valid point that can be made how Harras clearly had some blame to shoulder for not opposing what David did with Betty. How come that doesn't factor in here?

And if he's going to cite stories that were hardly considered the worst of their kind from decades past, then come to think of it, what good does it do to make this argument? Certainly, the points made about the Clone Saga are worthy. But the way he cites the Hulk story is decidedly laughable, and so too decidedly is turning Cap into a werewolf, when you have a much worse story from the early 2000s that'd make a better complaint for what went wrong in scriptwriting history. (Besides, if memory serves, J. Jonah Jameson's piloting son, John Jameson, was once turned into a werewolf in the Bronze Age, and you don't hear many complaints about that.) The comics can be better than movies, yes. But if you're going to cite bad examples from the comics, you should at least bring up the worst examples from the time the mainstream really went down the drain, in the early 2000s. Otherwise, it's all much too easy.

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Friday, November 25, 2022 

Fabian Nicieza part of team developing indie comic

The Batavian (NY) published a press release about a comic called Ku-Mighty, that an author named Scott Wakefield is co-working on, along with at least one veteran writer of the 1990s. But, there's a problem:
The Ku-Mighty is a deeply-developed story world co-created by acclaimed Starlight Runner Entertainment that taps into our Earth's mythology, legends, and secret societies, and turns them all upside down. Several species and god-like entities populate a planet much like Earth and share a common lineage to be revealed as the story unfolds.

[...] “The Ku-Mighty world is sprawling,” says Scott, “with deeply developed characters, and huge stakes on the line, which will give readers an immersive, thrilling story. Without spoiling too much, my writing will focus on a seafaring storyline – which I’m in love with – and will also include developing portions of the book from the antagonists’ point of view. I’m excited to see how it all grows and winds back together.”

[...] Scott Wakefield joins story creators Scott and Todd Housel, both United States Navy veterans, who collaborated with storytellers Fabian Nicieza, Jeff Gomez, Richard Garfield, and many others to bring this story to life.
The part that bugs me is when Wakefield says they're going to tell the tale from the villains' viewpoint. After all, there's been too much of that in the mainstream superhero fare these days, and to do it even here takes a risk of validating the criminals' views as a result.

It's interesting though, that Nicieza's participating in an indie venture like this. It seems like a lot more veterans of the mainstream are doing that nowadays, since said mainstream isn't proving to be artistically profitable anymore.

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SJW who once embraced Identity Crisis changed her mind 15 years later

Here's an article on Book Riot from December 2019, by one of their otherwise most pretentious liberal writers, who actually admitted she originally thought the repulsive Identity Crisis miniseries was great when it first debuted, precipitating the collapse of DC's products artistically, and only years later did she suddenly reevaluate:
In 2004 I was working part time at Borders (RIP) and just getting into comics. My manager at the time was also a big comics fan, and one day in the break room he lent me the first issue of DC’s big new event, Identity Crisis.

I read it. I loved it. I walked over to the comic book store on the other side of the mall from the Borders and bought all the issues that were out at that point, and continued to buy them every month until the series ended.

I now believe that Identity Crisis is one of the worst things that ever happened to the comic book industry, and we’re still shaking off its effects. But what made it so captivating—and so bad—and what were those effects?
Now that's a great question there alright. I do recall, when looking through those early message boards at the time, there were people who only admitted after reading the last part that they were disappointed, even though there were quite a few moments before that which were atrocious and offensive, not the least being Sue Dibny's rape at the hands of an out-of-character Dr. Light, who'd never been depicted stooping to sexual violence before in the time leading up to the year 2000. Why, up to that point, did the ostensibly dismayed readers have no issue with the poor taste plaguing the story? Why weren't they willing to admit it was perverse, right down to the left-wing metaphors for September 11, which were very sick too? Making matters worse, I even recall reading a message board or two, where at least a few users who gushed over the miniseries not only embraced it till the very end, they even justified its rancid existence by indicating it represented what they'd like to do to girlfriends who'd rejected them. In other words, for some of the most perverse, seeing the headline in a paper telling Jean Loring had been sexually assaulted in prison represented a rape fantasy they harbored. That was some of the sickest drivel I've ever seen on the internet, and made clear one of the biggest problems with Identity Crisis is that it was appealing to perverts, since nobody at the time was willing to question whether the structure was demeaning to women, nor whether it was a leftist metaphor for Blame America propaganda.

So again, one can only wonder why anybody would want to lionize a story that was attracting people with lenient views on sexual violence? Why did they not take any time back in the day to consider that, and ask whether it's a good idea to go miles out of their way in favor of a story that's offensive to victims of rape and pedophilia? Well unfortunately, this was the liberal norm back in the day, at a time when certain PC advocates were so selfish and entitled, they refused to consider the poor influence of the tale, and villified/shunned anybody who tried to point out how poor the tale actually was, and on far more than just failure to retain a consistent characterization for the cast. If it hadn't been for the Harvey Weinstein scandal, chances are they'd still be lauding this grimy comic even now. And sadly, there still are quite a few moonbats out there fully willing to defend it no matter what. The following description, however, has some parts that are sloppy:
In the first issue, Sue Dibny, the wife of beloved comic relief hero Ralph Dibny, aka the Elongated Man, is murdered. The surviving members of the “Satellite Era” of the Justice League, i.e. the ’70s run—Green Arrow, Black Canary, Zatanna, the Atom, and Hawkman—assume Dr. Light is the killer and try to bring him in. When two younger heroes, Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) and Wally West (the Flash) question why the JLA is targeting a villain widely perceived to be a hapless joke, the Satellite Era Leaguers reluctantly explain that back in the day, they occasionally used Zatanna’s magic to erase the memories of any villain who discovered their secret identities. One day, Dr. Light managed to sneak aboard the satellite, where he found Sue on monitor duty and raped her. When the League returned, they decided that wiping Light’s memory wouldn’t be enough, and voted to magically lobotomize him, making him incompetent ever since. Also, Batman, who wasn’t part of the initial vote, caught them at it and tried to stop them…so they wiped his mind, too.
If memory serves from the material I'd checked years ago, it told - through GA's narrative - that Sue teleported up to the station because "she was bored." Which was one of the stupidest excuses for setting up the offensive catalyst of the story. It could be the columnist doesn't remember clearly, but all the same, I don't get why she had to be so awkward in giving a synopsis. It continues:
The League fails to apprehend Light, who regains his memory and…full capacity of his brain? Unclear. Meanwhile, an anonymous figure attacks Jean Loring, the Atom’s ex-wife; sends a threatening note to Lois Lane; and hires the villain Captain Boomerang to kill Jack Drake, the father of then-Robin Tim Drake. Boomerang and Jack kill each other, leaving their sons orphaned. Elsewhere, the hero Firestorm is killed while questioning other suspects in Sue’s murder.

An autopsy reveals that Sue died of an aneurysm, and close examination reveals tiny footprints on her brain. Simultaneously, the Atom, who has gotten back together with Jean after rescuing her from her mysterious attacker, realizes she knows more than she should about the various attacks…meaning that she must be the killer. She tearfully confesses that she borrowed his equipment but insists that she only meant to scare Sue, hoping that threats to various Leaguers’ loved ones would send her own Leaguer straight back to her arms. The Atom has her committed to Arkham Asylum, then wanders off to be tiny and sad for a while. Meanwhile, Batman starts to suspect (correctly) that the rest of the League has been playing with his memory, causing an erosion of his trust in them that cause a domino effect of negative consequences in future stories.
Umm, I don't think Jean was depicted confessing "tearfully", so much as she was depicted hatefully, with a nasty look on her face, even going so far as to invite Ray to hit her (curious that's not mentioned here. Although such an act isn't actually shown on-panel, isn't it obscene how the story minimizes the seriousness of a man hitting a woman?). In any case, that any apologist who read the book at the time would actually think the reasoning for Jean causing all that trouble over peanuts, and making her out to be mentally insane in a way that's inconsistent with 2 older stories where she was brainwashed (in the last issue of the Silver Age Atom, it was by an alien race called Jimberen, and the story was completed a few months later in Justice League of America. The other story was in Super-Team Family around 1977) wasn't colossally stupid, clearly was predisposed to liking it no matter how offensive it was to start with. And that's a serious problem with the reception the book had at the time.
There are a lot of minor issues with this story. Like most Crises, it slaughters a number of tangential characters to show you that it means business—like, I don’t care about Firestorm, and he’s back now anyway, but he deserved better than that. Most of the cast is written fairly out of character, and the bulk of the story is narrated by Green Arrow, a baffling choice for a story about secret identities when he hadn’t had one in 20 years. And the pacing is a mess: with the murder in #1, the backstory in #2, and the reveal in #7, that’s four whole issues in the middle of treading water with the heroes coming no closer to the solution while a bunch of people die.

But of course that all pales beside the major issue, which is that this story revolves around a female character being raped and killed.

And it’s a red herring
.

The things that happen to Sue in this story—her assault, her death, the mutilation of her corpse—don’t happen because of who she is. They happen because DC wanted to be cool and dark and edgy, like Marvel but better, and the way to do that was to put a rape front and center in a high profile comic.
And this is exactly why it fails: because all involved clearly lacked confidence in their ability to tell a story without resorting to shock value and gross-out ingredients. And is the columnist saying she doesn't care about Firestorm? Well that's exactly the problem here. A whole culture was built up wherein the audience is indoctrinated to believe it's perfectly fine to just turn every two-bit character into a victim of murder/rape, and nobody's interested in a far better alternative like keeping the characters alive for character drama, growth, development and focus. Which only confirms how nobody's really reading these abominations for merit. From what I recall reading across various websites at the time by people who upheld the miniseries, what was most telling was that none of them seemed to care about Sue. They didn't seem even the least disappointed she'd been reduced to a sick laboratory experiment, and never showed any remorse for minimizing serious issues along the way. And these scum had the gall to call themselves fans?

The article also brings up a most eyebrow raising issue that former DC employee Valerie d'Orazio had with one of their editors at the time:
It’s perhaps worth noting at this point that D’Orazio has also discussed her history of being sexually harassed by the editor on Identity Crisis (and many other books), Mike Carlin.

Given how much editorial wanted the rape plot line in there, and given how insensitive their in-house discussion of a sensitive subject was, it’s not surprising that the end product uses rape only for shock value and misdirection. It’s not a book about rape in any meaningful sense, because it’s not a book about Sue, or even about Ralph or Dr. Light. It’s a book that has a rape in it, as envisioned by grown men who think putting rape in your work is something that makes you cool and grown up, even as you giggle over it like naughty children.
Now this is definitely telling quite a bit. If the staff involved see nothing wrong with trivializing sexual assault, you can't be shocked if they run the gauntlet of doing something even remotely similar in real life. One more reason the comic's aged horribly.
And it’s a book that offers up female characters for the slaughter in service of that prurient rubbernecking: not just Sue, but Jean, who had existed for 43 years prior to this book, whose villainous turn is motivated by nothing but out-of-nowhere, unhinged clinginess, and who was permanently ruined as a character for a book that, once again, isn’t actually about her or her actions.

So what is Identity Crisis actually about? It’s about the impossibility of trusting anyone: your wife, your friends, your heroes to do the right thing. It’s about how what you thought was something beautiful and innocent—those Satellite Era comics you loved as a kid, the Dibnys’ sweet and playful marriage—is actually tainted. (Please note that I am describing the comic’s themes here and not suggesting that real rape survivors or their relationships are “tainted” by their experiences.)
If memory serves, the scene where Jean was almost hung indicated somebody else behind her wearing shoes had grabbed her and tied her in a noose, so it's stunning how the finale abandons all logic for the sake of another example in misogyny, leaving something else entirely unexplained. And the apologists didn't give a damn. Amazing how the woman who wrote this acknowledges some of the most disturbing themes its built upon, including the message that nobody's trustworthy, not even your wife/girlfriend, and a claim the Bronze Age JLA was literally a quagmire of darkness, as though this were real life. On which note, there were only so many apologists back in the day who pretended, deliberately or otherwise, that all characters involved were real people, not fictional ones. And they owe an apology they'll surely never offer.

And it's amazing the columnist was willing to acknowledge another alarming issue the book suffers from:
But there’s also historical context for Identity Crisis. In “Terrified Protectors: The Early Twenty-First Century Fear Narrative in Comic Book Superhero Stories,” Jeffrey K. Johnson situates it as a post-9/11 story, heavily influenced by the culture of fear and suspicion that developed in the United States after the 9/11 attacks: [...]

As Johnson points out, Marvel had its own share of dark and cynical post-9/11 stories, like House of M and Civil War. DC and Marvel have been locked in a sort of arms race since the ’60s, after all, of “That worked for the other guys so let’s do it ourselves but even harder.” The spiraling downwards into violence and suspicion happened across the industry, to the detriment of everyone, and not just at DC. And it can’t just be blamed on one comic, given the political context.

But DC’s choice to base their own jumping-off point for this new wave of storytelling on a rape not only spoke to their disdain for women and rape victims, it meant that every subsequent plot development in their greater universe hinged on a throwaway rape plot point. When Batman’s suspicion of his fellow Leaguers caused him to build a spy satellite to surveil them, readers were reminded that this was the point of Identity Crisis, and not Sue Dibny’s rape, murder, and mutilation. What happened to her didn’t matter; how Batman felt about a tangential issue did.

It also made rape more speakable as a plot point and a threat, especially since Dr. Light was restored to the pantheon of competent villains. In an issue of Green Arrow that came out shortly after Identity Crisis, Dr. Light gleefully beats up the other Dr. Light—a heroic Japanese woman—then informs Green Arrow that it was almost as good as raping her would have been. The callous salaciousness of “the rape pages are in!” permeated far beyond that one moment in the DC offices.
It's amazing she's willing to cite this information, since not many leftists are willing to admit the book was built on atrocious political metaphors. However, a drawback here is that she fails to clearly acknowledge the story builds on victim-blaming propaganda, which makes it all the more noxious.

The following, however, is where the columnist begins to falter:
Don’t get me wrong: sexual violence has been a part of comics since the beginning, going back to all those pinup-y covers of tied-up women menaced by sinister figures that EC and Fox Comics did such a brisk trade in. It was a truism before Identity Crisis that it was harder to find a female character who hadn’t been sexually assaulted in some way than one who had. But Identity Crisis’s aggressive handling of such sensitive subject matter paved the way for DC to continue to shout about it, over and over until its efficacy as shock value had completely dried up. (Then they moved on to dismemberment. It was a gruesome decade.)
Oh for heaven's sake. While I realize there were bound to be examples of sexual violence decades before, to put pinup covers themselves in exactly the same boat is going a bit far. It may not be in the best of taste to depict a girl tied up, but back in those days, most mainstream comics with such covers usually never crossed the line into genuine sexual assault inside. If and when a girl was tied up in those days, villains were portrayed doing it for the purpose of ransom, or even threatening to execute the lady if she got in the way of their criminal plans. So as a result, those covers with women tied up and gagged were usually just that, and it was not the intent of all the artists to go overboard. It certainly can't be proven they desired to do so. There was a comic strip in the late 1940s called Sweet Gwendoline by a cartoonist named John Willie in Wink magazine that's certainly controversial by today's standards, since it depicted its leading lady being tied up often. But if it never wallowed in sensationalized depictions of rape, you can't say it's offensive in the same way an actual depiction of rape is. That's why it annoys me when a PC advocate begins likening everything to sexual violence in the literal sense, because it risks making the description meaningless. And doesn't it also run the gauntlet of doing something similar to what the columnist mentioned earlier, making all those older stories out to be darker than they actually are? How didn't that occur to her?

Towards the end, she says:
Some of DC’s “dark and edgy” comics have been so influential that they’ve changed the medium permanently, with books like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke leading that list. Others cause an immediate trend, but in retrospect turn out to be more of a flash in the pan than a tectonic shift. Looking back at Identity Crisis 15 years later, now that we’re finally out of its blast radius, I think—I hope—that we can safely say it’s the latter. DC has more female creators and staff now than they did back then. They are going back to the sexual assault well far less frequently. They’re letting creators tell the stories they want instead of dictating plot lines to them. Hopefully, these are all trends that will continue.
Well here's the bad news. Employing more female writers doesn't automatically equal talented storytelling. Judging by how poorly a lot of DC/Marvel's books are selling now, there's obviously more out there who can attest to that. And despite what she's saying, creative freedom these days is selective only. Those who have it at the majors only do if their politics align with those of the publishers, who lean left. Let's also consider that conservative-leaning women are blacklisted in today's industry just as much as men, and these SJWs make no effort to question whether that's healthy practice. There's also quite a bit of LGBT propaganda going about in these modern comics that's hurtful to women, and in many cases, no distinctions are made between healthy depictions of sexuality and sexual violence. Also consider where Disney's wound up. So what good does it do to suggest today's output is any better than 2 decades ago?

There's an author named Megan Fox who works at Pajamas Media who told Bounding into Comics that conservatives throughly surrendered Hollywood without a fight, and the issue's obviously not limited to movies. If right-wingers hadn't, maybe they could've seen to it that comicdom wouldn't fall victim to the embarrassments it has over the years. Yet even now, it's clear there's only so many right-wingers who don't give a damn about the Big Two's stable of creations, and won't do anything to improve an already dire situation.

It may be a good thing the columnist at Book Riot was willing to reevaluate Identity Crisis and had Buyer's Remorse, and it's probably better late than never. But questions still remain how anybody could be that naive and ignorant at the time, enabling the book to make an impact for as long as it did, and all the while, they never made any call for the people responsible to resign from positions they weren't qualified for, nor did they urge the audience to save their money and not put it into the profiteers' pockets. No wonder the comics medium is so messed up today.

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Thursday, November 24, 2022 

The experiences of UK veterans told in comic format

The BBC published an article about a comic called Coming Home, in which UK veterans' experiences with mental health subjects are told:
A comic book has been created with veterans sharing their experiences as a way to deal with mental health issues.

Graham "Stan" Mathews said it had been "amazing" in helping him to come terms with what he witnessed while serving in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

He said Coming Home had brought to life issues which had been going "round and round in my head" for years.

[...] Karin Diamond, artistic director for arts and health group Re-Live and co-editor of the comic, said the idea came about as a client had been a big fan of the Commando Comics series.

"We wanted to connect to veterans and veterans' families and the general public about some of the mental health experiences that veterans are living with every day," she said.
And this is bound to be a lot more honest than the mainstream comics written by Tom King, who's supposedly explored mental issues in the DC/Marvel books he's written, but all at the expense of classic creations, which only makes King's writings all the more phony. Anybody interested in the topic of mental health would do better to read and research comics like what the UK veterans have produced, which actually deal with their subjects with far more sincerity and dedication.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022 

Capcom's director of Street Fighter 6 development wants - but sees it difficult - to cross over with DC as much as Marvel

Event Hubs addressed news of a Capcom production director who'd like to do a crossover with not just Marvel's stable of characters, as seen in the 1990s, but also with DC, while talking about production for the 6th Street Fighter game that may be due to debut next year:
In a recent rapid fire interview from Game Informer, Street Fighter 6's director Takayuki Nakayama and producer Shuhei Matsumoto sat down to field 118 questions about the upcoming title. Here, Nakayama stated that his most wanted collaborations for Street Fighter are none other than DC Comics and Marvel Comics, though he notes that making that happen would be "really difficult."

Among the long list of questions, the interviewer asked the Street Fighter 6 developers what series they'd most want to see Street Fighter crossover with. Nakayama was quick to respond and bring up DC.

"I'm a big fan of DC Comics, so it would be fantastic to collaborate with DC and Marvel Comics," started Nakayama. "It would be fun, but really difficult."

Such a crossover would be very difficult to pull off, as Nakayama notes, due to the rights hurdles that would be needed to make it happen. Even with Marvel Comics, a company that has worked with Capcom in the past to make several Marvel vs. Capcom entries and other Versus titles, making the stars align to get another Marvel vs. Capcom game made has proven to be a struggle.
Oh, it's worse than that. Both companies are so woke these days, chances are very high any project they work on would result in little more than embarrassment. Why, even this new 6th Street Fighter installment was said to be infected with PC elements like parting sex and gender as though they were always separate meanings. More on which anon. For now, look what else turned up in this whole discussion:
That being said, it would be incredibly interesting to see a DC vs. Capcom fighting game. However, Warner Bros. holds the rights to the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and company, and NetherRealm Studios has been the forerunner for fighting games based on these characters.

NRS also develops another longtime legendary fighting game franchise in Mortal Kombat, and the interviewer transitioned from this question to ask if the developers could ever see a Street Fighter X Mortal Kombat crossover happening.

"It'd be very cool, but it may also be hard to watch certain characters' heads falling off," explained Nakayama. "It might be OK if that happened off-screen," continued Matsumoto.

That has been the long-running issue with seeing Ryu, Sub-Zero, Ken, and Scorpion in the same fighting game doing battle. Finding a balance between Mortal Kombat's gory nature and bringing Street Fighter characters into that realm seems to be a puzzle that neither Capcom nor NRS have been able to solve.
Ugh, they just had to drag all that Kombat garbage in, didn't they? It's been years since I played the SF series myself, and a lot of Capcom's early games up to the early 2000s were very impressive. But I most definitely do not want to see any crossover between SF and a franchise that emphasized gore galore for 3 decades already. It's not like the early SF entries didn't have questionable content back in the day. But mixing it with the blatantly violent ingredients the MK series is notorious for would be an utter humiliation. At least Nakayama seems to understand that's not what the core SF audience likes.

But then, according to the news site, guess which Marvel character Nakayama thinks would make a great fit in SF6?
"I want to make Killmonger," said the director. Erik Killmonger, the main villain from Marvel Studios' 2018 film Black Panther, is a former United States Navy SEAL of Wakandan descent who ends up harnessing the power of the Black Panther on top of his already elite combat skills.
Oh, for heaven's sake. Why exactly does a villain appeal to them for this kind of project? Something tells me their reasoning isn't healthy. But wow, does this give an important reminder why the BP film is overrated: chances are the movie version of Killmonger was made into a US military operative so they could make the USA look bad.

Now, about PC ingredients turning up in SF6, or almost, here's what I found in the comments section:
Both Marvel and DC are insanely woke companies, everything that gives Capcom games and Japanese games in general their "charm" would be prohibited.

The best characters that Marvel has to offer would be off limits too, the only characters allowed would be the objectively most hated characters they've been trying to shove down people's throats.
Or, more precisely, the most badly developed ones. I say that because it's not a fictional character's fault for being constructed with political elements combined, a point I try to remember whenever possible. Next:
Agreed. I would say Capcom is becoming very woke as well. There's definitely some woke garbage surrounding SF6 that's soured my taste for this upcoming game.

My main thing is that these developers need to focus on making Street Fighter, freaking Street Fighter and stop with this ridiculous woke pandering that they're doing. Cuz right now, it's looking very much like those Capcom leaks are turning out to be true.
Here's the telling clue why even Capcom's derailing. And if memory serves, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 made use of Carol Danvers as Capt. Marvel, not as Ms. Marvel, or not with the far better 2nd costume she had in the Bronze Age. Which points to a serious problem that was noticeable in the 90s games as well, and could be described like this: Capcom seemed to make use of far more women from X-Men than from other properties like Avengers in the video games they produced from 1994-2000. In fact, when they made Marvel Super-Heroes vs. Street Fighter in 1997, there were noticeably no Marvel heroines on the menu, and only 2 ladies from Capcom's cast of characters, Chun Li and Sakura. You may think the game mechanics were well made, but that doesn't excuse any refusal by Marvel's licensing department to allow for more than the limited number of women Capcom could use at the time. Here's another comment:
Kimberly is certainly part of the problem. Not necessarily the character herself, but the controversy surrounding her inclusion in the game.

Video: Street Fighter 6 is woke garbage
And:
No, I hear some people mention Kimberly, but no, she's perfect, it's not about her, we've always had black characters in Street Fighter.

It's not about Kimberly, it's about the leaked guidelines that Capcom corporate issued out to their staff that explains in detail all the Marxist ideology they have to reflect in their game content. And with characters like "Eternity" in the Battlehub we see exactly where they implemented this, along with the character creator separating sex and gender as different selectable options.
See, this is where dismay sets in, as, at least in the original leaked documents the video speaks of, the game planners intend to inject LGBT ideology for the sake of endless pandering. For years already, this approach to marketing has drained away quality from these video games and made them insufferable. And it goes without saying that, if this Kimberly is supposed to be based on a BLM activist, as the video argues, that is unfortunate. Here's another comment:
The reason I said Kimberly was part of the problem was because of the controversy around her inception. Not the character herself. They needed a black consultant for the development of Kimberly.

That's where the issue with her comes from. The video I linked goes over that very subject cuz there was an article highlighting about that.
Yes, it is absurd if a consultant is truly needed to develop Black/Asian/Latino characters, but what really makes it troubling is if the consultant is a BLM ideologue. Here's another comment responding to the above ones:
I've seen that video before, I don't agree with everything that was said in it, the video is also late, I already knew all the information that the guy in the video is referencing, I only disagree with some of his conclusions.

Consider that Capcom suffered MASSIVE backlash from Japanese fans over the contents of the woke management leak, they might have decided to reel this back a bit.

There are clear remnants of the woke influence in SF6 though with Marxist gender ideology in the character creator. But besides that, very little else qualifies as "woke".
And then:
I see. Well I'll say this. Despite the apparent backlash from the Japanese I don't know if it will be enough to change the woke direction Capcom seems to be going in with this game. They went full steam ahead with that ridiculous battle hub trailer with its even more ridiculous announcer.

There also questionable looking characters like papa pump Marisa who is apparently a woman but looks nothing like one imo. Looking at that character just screams controversy to me. Which is the last thing that needs to be anywhere near Street Fighter is freaking controversy.
And:
Also one more thing to take into account. A lot of this woke garbage is being pushed by Capcom USA. Take a good guess where Capcom USA hq is located.
In the San Francisco area, around northern California, right? It's honestly time for Capcom to close down their USA division, as it's been taken over by far-leftists obsessed with ideology rather than entertainment value. I haven't paid much attention to these game series in years, but it's clear whatever made them work originally has long evaporated as the new examples make clear.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022 

Fatigue is setting in for movie adaptations

Bell of Lost Souls pointed to some research conducted telling of waning interest in comics movies, as seems to be the case lately where, even if the newest adaptations didn't lose that much money at the box office, they still fared very underwhelmingly:
When you dig into the numbers, the results show what many folks have been thinking since End Game hit theaters – the excitement isn’t there anymore. There’s too much, and the whole ‘everything is connected’ plan is starting to fail.

The big takeaway with DC fans is not surprising – they’re character-based. Those surveyed (57%) said they want more stand-alone projects with characters they love. They don’t want DC to take cues from Marvel’s connected universe. Fans want Superman and Batman, the household names of the publisher. That bears out when you look at the box office for Black Adam, which DC was hoping would smash post-pandemic records. It was overshadowed by casting news for Superman that had nothing to do with the $195 million movie they wanted fans to see.

Over a third of Marvel fans surveyed feel exhausted from the constant stream of content on Disney+ and in theaters. But they’re also more likely to watch any project (81% of them) from Marvel Studios, whether they know the characters involved or not. Only 38% of Marvel fans said they follow particular characters. That’s a mixed bag for the upcoming phase with a mix of new and known characters (not a big deal for fans), but it jams a lot in two years.
So according to their research, fans of these movies don't want connected universe effects between DC movies. But, what about Marvel movies? Seriously, it's ridiculous they're connected, no matter what the previous success levels were. And I find it odd the research claims fans want the Man of Steel and the Masked Manhunter foremost, because that's not exactly a merit-based argument. What, they won't watch a movie with lesser-known creations, even if the finished product is artistically successful? That's not a good type of argument, I don't think, and makes anybody who does watch Marvel films look like they're taking a better approach.
Pop culture trends come in cycles that last a decade or less, but this is the first we’ve had with streaming being a significant component. We’ve had about 15 years of comic book movie (mostly Marvel) saturation with two years of streaming shows. Marvel hopes folks will fork over their money for new stories until at least May of 2026. DC’s grand plan isn’t public at the moment, but CEO David Zaslav has promised a ten-year plan that looks like the one Marvel is running – that the fans say they don’t want.
I'd noticed that news before, and nope, it doesn't pay well to imitate Marvel's approach to the letter. Definitely if the finished DC products lack merit. But it doesn't help if audiences fork over their dough for new Marvel movie stories over the next 4 years either. Definitely not if whatever entertainment value they once had is now collapsing.
The successes we’ve seen this year lie in other genres. Top Gun: Maverick was the movie of the summer. The sequel (nearly 40 years removed from the original that has no superheroes, galactic villains, and a minimal amount of CG shots) raked almost 1.5 billion this summer. Original horror is trending up this year with movies like Nope, Smile, Barbarian, and Terrifier 2. Non-franchise movies are getting butts back in theater seats. High fantasy has taken over streaming with shows like Rings of Power, Wheel of Time, Willow, and House of the Dragon.
Let's see, on the one hand, they acknowledge the Top Gun sequel beat out nearly every superhero movie to date, yet don't admit it's because the screenplay wasn't considered "woke". On the other hand, they cite the horror genre as a trending franchise, and that's dismaying, because it demonstrates how Hollywood's romanticization of jarring violence is still ongoing.

And they don't even mention that Rings of Power has a problem of its own with wokeness. It'd be great to think the fantasy genre itself was picking up again, but sadly, this is an era where PC's overtaken much of entertainment, and it spoils everything.

To be sure, if superhero movies are waning in popularity, it was to be expected. But what a terrible shame none of the liberal news sources will acknowledge one of the leading reasons why - wokeness overtaking them.

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Monday, November 21, 2022 

12-year-old Floridian girl creates her own comic

Spectrum Bay News 9 did a report about a 12-year-old girl, one of the youngest children to possibly create her own stories in this sense, who's written and published some comics of her own:
While the COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges, for some, it was a new way to form hobbies and create new opportunities.

Ever since Lily Wojtkowski can remember, she’s had a crayon or marker in her hand.

“It’s the fact you can make anything you want but on the paper,” she said.

Drawing is second nature to her — in fact, one thing she remembers from her childhood is drawing characters from the television show “My Little Pony.”

“I always liked doodling things that I had seen on a show or in real life,” she said.

[...] She also loves creating a story with her imagination. She says it started from reading comics in newspapers.

“But I wanted to make a whole page like a graphic novel, so I decided to do this interesting style of a comic book where each page is a different plot but all of them sort of all go together,” she said.

When the pandemic hit, Lily had an idea — to create her own comic book, centered around her pet rats, Pretzel and Dot, (and yes, their favorite snack is eating pretzels).

The book is called “Pretzel Rat.” Her comic book is about her pet rat who is a mailman and loves adventures.
And with the aid of her family, it's self-published. Good for her that she's being creative. There aren't many writers this young I know of, but this girl's certainly setting a good example.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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